Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

The clouds are so near after a spell of rain in Bhurban, Pakistan that it makes you almost feel afloat…
Panorama III (2006.03.25)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/afloat/

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roads

A winding road in Nathiagali, Pakistan. Can you imagine a car passing through this narrow road?
DSCN3580

View of a road in San Francisco from a cable car
San Franscisco - Cable Car View (2004.05.20)

A road in Islamabad, Pakistan leading to Faisal Mosque.
P1010813
http://ceenphotography.com/2014/08/26/cees-fun-foto-challenge-roads/

Cricket matches and roosters

Back in my homeland we have a small house in a locality where the houses are falling over each other. The houses are so close together that we can hear loud arguments or children crying in the house next door. Standing on the terrace we can look into all the surrounding houses. Any information that you do not manage to obtain in this way about your neighbors can be gotten by the cleaning ladies who frequent all the houses of the neighborhood.

Our next door neighbors have a lot of people living in the house with children of all sizes. We know this because every time a child is born they distribute mithai (traditional sweets) in the neighborhood.

One of the children is called Abdullah (we hear his mother calling him) and he is too naughty to go to school. They have tried putting him in school but after a few days the school sends him back. So Abdullah spends his time on the street waiting for the other children to return from school. Once the other children are back, it’s time for the cricket matches to start. Since the houses do not have backyards the matches are played on the street. The batsman hits the ball and it lands neatly on our terrace. Now the children are very considerate and do not bother to ring the bell and ask for the ball. The little monkeys simply go into their own house, climb the wall over onto our terrace and retrieve the ball. Another consequence of the cricket matches is that almost every week our gate lights are broken and have to be changed.

On top of all the children, the neighbors also kept a chicken and a rooster in their house. The rooster liked to climb into our house and peck on our plants. Fortunately one of the local cats solved this problem and the rooster is no more.

20140218_180320When we moved to Dubai we came into a locality with 3 to 5 bedroom villas with 2 car porches, a maid’s room and a big backyard. I wanted to make friends with the neighbors so I sent them some chocolates with my husband’s visiting card hoping that they would come over to say thank you. That never happened. I continued to make efforts but to no avail. Finally I gave up. Years later I have realized that only people of same nationalities socialize here. It’s really a shame.

And thinking about it, I kind of miss the cricket matches back home.

Daily Prompt: West End Girls

  1. Well Said & Done! | Rima Hassan
  2. Recycle | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. An ad campaign 🙂 | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. Bogota Dame | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  5. Daily Prompt: West End Girls-Why people get rich | Journeyman
  6. Society | Mara Eastern
  7. Big City Girl | Rose-tinted Rambles
  8. Begrenztes Denken auf dem Spielplatz | Zeitarbeiterin
  9. Roger, The Bush Pilot And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  10. DP Daily Prompt: West End Girls | Sabethville
  11. Living In Ogden – It’s All About Community
  12. a stunning society… | ensuing light…
  13. The rainbows in my eyes divide us | 365 days of defiance
  14. society | yi-ching lin photography
  15. of good hosts | Anawnimiss
  16. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | The Wandering Poet
  17. Home Is Where Your Rump Rests | The Dragon Weyr
  18. Saudi Arabia Was Beautiful But I’m Happy It’s Not My Home, Anymore | Kosher Adobo
  19. Daily Prompt: West End Girls « Mama Bear Musings
  20. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | The High Society of Cows and Foxes
  21. Home (Daily Prompt) | Writing and Works
  22. Daily Prompt: Our House | One Starving Activist
  23. We Are All Immigrants | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  24. Classes In Society | My Little Avalon
  25. Anywhere is a Place for Prayer | THE MARRIED MAN WHO LOVES HIS X
  26. Prompt’d To Post: West End Girls (Fairfield County, Connecticut) « The October Weekend
  27. Culture shock | A picture is worth 1000 words
  28. The beauty in hindsight | Unlocking The Inner Creative
  29. Love Don’t live THERE Anymore | peacefulblessedstar
  30. MANY CULTURES ONE COMMUNITY | Francine In Retirement
  31. The “Hood” back in the day… | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  32. West End Girls: Daily Post | Destino
  33. My home’s patio | Life is great
  34. A real hodge podge … | 365 And Counting
  35. Society | Among the Whispers
  36. Memories | Views Splash!
  37. Neighbors | Flowers and Breezes
  38. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  39. Society? Who Needs It. | 61 Musings
  40. Daily Prompt: Children’s Society | medicinalmeadows
  41. My Abrupt Descent Into the Cesspit of Humanity | Thinking Diagonally
  42. One drop in a limitless ocean | sayanything
  43. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | Basically Beyond Basic

Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of Years Past

Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Phi Phi Island, Thailand

27th Oct 2003: I open the curtains and the stunning view leaves me mesmerized. I stare out at the shimmering blue water against the backdrop of a green mountain. Could such beauty really exist? It’s my first trip to the Far East and I’m with my husband who I married a few days ago. It’s the first time we’re together but it doesn’t feel that way. The hesitation I felt in the beginning seems to have melted away.

Security Council, UN HQ, New York

Security Council, UN HQ, New York

10th May 2004: We are at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. We are standing outside wondering how to get in. My husband sends me forward as he thinks I look less of a Pakistani and therefore less suspicious. I get the details and we enter the building. A few hours and many photos later we stop by a McDonalds for lunch. We are touring the United States and have 3 weeks to see as much as we can. I have discovered that my husband loves seeing new places even though he is not too adventurous.

Langkawai Harbor

Langkawai Harbor

16th Nov 2005: We have rented a car to tour the small island of Langkawi in Malaysia. We have already been in the cable car and now we’ll see the rest of the sights by car. I ask my husband if I can drive the car too but he makes an excuse. I have learnt that he likes to be in charge and I don’t mind. I’ll just relax and enjoy the ride.

Isle de Brehat, Brittany, France

Isle de Brehat, Brittany, France

30th Sept 2006: I’m with my colleagues from Pakistan on training in France. We have a car to ourselves and each weekend we visit a new place. Brittany is incredibly beautiful and peaceful. But every night as I lie down to sleep, my heart aches. 5 weeks away from my husband is the longest separation I have had to bear. So this is what being in love feels like.

View from my hotel room, Cairo, Egypt

View from my hotel room, Cairo, Egypt

6th Nov 2007: I can see the Nile from the terrace of my hotel room. The night view is the most gorgeous I have seen. But my mind is thousands of miles away. I wait for my husband to call me. I want to tell him about the incredible room I’ve got. I know he’ll call exactly when he said he will. I know very well how punctual and organized he is. Having to travel without him is such a headache.

Nathiagali, Pakistan

Nathiagali, Pakistan

8th Mar 2009: We are holidaying in a mountain resort in Nathiagali in Pakistan. We have bought our first home together and cannot afford to make an international trip. It has been the biggest achievement of our lives. People take all their lives to build their own home. Although I also made a major contribution I have to say that my husband is the most hard-working man I have ever met.

Father and son fast asleep

Father and son fast asleep

19th Aug 2012: We are on a plane to Maldives for our first international trip with our son. He is old enough now for us to manage well. I have brought his jigsaw puzzles and his coloring pencils to keep him occupied.  But he soon grows bored and wants to go over to his dad. He snuggles up with him and they both fall asleep. I look at the two men in my life and I feel content.

23rd Dec 2013: There is only a day left for me to do our packing. Since we’re going by car I’m not too worried as there are no weight restrictions. But I should make a list of all of my son’s things as they will be the most in number. Toys, clothes, snacks, I really must make a list. I hope it’s not too cold and we can enjoy the beach. I’m sure we’ll have some good family time together. This time of the year is always exciting for me, the end of the year and the start of a new year. A time of hope, reflection and gratitude. It will be the last vacation of the year but God willing there are many more exciting times to come.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of Years Past

  1. Weekly Writing Challenge Response (December 23rds) | starlightfire
  2. This time last year… | Home’s Cool!
  3. As you grow older, your Christmas list gets smaller; the things you really want for the holidays can’t be bought | Never Stationary
  4. A Year Ago Today | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  5. Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past | hippiebitch420
  6. A Theeivening to remember | booksdragonsanddietcoke
  7. Recruiting Minors Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  8. Christmas B & E | Fish Of Gold
  9. The Year I Turned 18 and Met the Messiah | jackiefoxdotnet
  10. Family Ghosts on Roots Day | humblegenealogy
  11. ‘tis three days before christmas | Musings of a Random Mind
  12. Ghosts of December 23rds Past | On Being a Homegirl
  13. Ghosts of December 23rds Past – The Poetic Take | writingequalspassion
  14. Emily’s December 23rd | emilykarn
  15. Ghosts Who Sing | My Play Nook
  16. Ghosts @ HX | HX Report
  17. Weekly Writing Challenge | December 23, 2003 | House of Farts
  18. Ghosts of December 23rds Past | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  19. Christmas in the Pacific Northwest – The Christmas Tree – 2012 | Chasing Rabbit Holes
  20. One Year From Today | lifewithgreeneyes
  21. Festive Reflection | Getting Nowhere Fast
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past | imagination
  23. The Day That Changed Her. | Babbleogue
  24. The December Twenty-thirds of My Dis-belief | A Wild One Within
  25. Weekly Writing Challenge: Twas the night before… | Life of a Fallen Angel
  26. Chapters of Christmas Past | Mary J Melange
  27. Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past, Or: The Christmas Cancellation | polymathically
  28. Galloping Through the Mists of Time | Perceptive Pot Clueless Kettle
  29. Stock taking on Dec. 23 | Minnesota Transplant
  30. A Good Date (Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past) | Mod with Love
  31. Ghosts of December 23rds Past (WW Challenge) | Ruminations & Observations
  32. Ghosts of December 23rds Past (Or, Boy Do I Love My Life) | Laughing Through Life
  33. December 23, 2005 | johnautry24
  34. Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past | Stories for the Heart
  35. ghosts of december | yi-ching lin photography
  36. there are decembers | y
  37. 23 Desember 2 atau 3 tahun lalu | semangat! (coba-coba)

Living in Fear

My husband was posted in the volatile Frontier Province of Pakistan. At that time I was working so we decided that I would stay in Islamabad and he would commute over the weekends.

Just a few weeks before, my husband’s colleague had been kidnapped as he returned to the factory with his wife. The kidnappers wore policemen’s uniforms and pretended they were taking him away for questioning. They left his wife and the car. When the family discovered he had been kidnapped they arranged for the ransom. He was released after a week, alive but terribly shaken.

One evening as we talked on the phone my husband told me that he was going on a field visit the next morning. I was a bit concerned but I didn’t say anything as, after all he had to do his job.

The next morning even before I had woken up I received a call asking for my husband. “But this is not his number”, I answered “Who’s calling?”

“I am calling from the security company and we are trying to call him but we can’t get through.”

“Is everything all right?” I panicked.

“Actually, the panic button in his car was triggered and we are trying to contact him now.”

The panic button had been installed in all the company cars since the kidnapping to alert the security company if a possible kidnapping was taking place.

“This is it.” I thought, “My husband has been kidnapped.” I told the man about his field visit and that there would be others with him so he should try to contact the others as well.

I spent the next few minutes trying to call my husband and agonizing over how I would arrange the ransom money and whether I would ever see him ever again.

My phone rang. It was my husband. “Don’t worry. It was a false alarm. I just cleared it with the security company.”

Relief enveloped me. That lump in my throat cleared.

“Why was your phone off?”

“We were passing through an area where the reception was bad.”

“Ok. Call me when you reach the factory safely.”

My husband worked in that area for two years. Whenever he would travel he would be armed and with a bodyguard. I could not relax until he would message me that he had arrived at his destination. Finally when my son was born, he decided he had had enough and started to look for other jobs.

We have been living in Dubai since then for the last three years and we have never felt unsafe again.

Daily Prompt: Safety First

  1. Daily Prompt: Safety First | Under the Monkey Tree
  2. Getting Back Up | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  3. Unsafe At Any Speed | The Jittery Goat
  4. Dailypost/safety | annetteharris42
  5. A tale of two cities on 9/11 | Beth Byrnes
  6. Cat Pics : Safety First | Icezine
  7. Castle of Fear | Prayers and Promises
  8. Never Confuse An RV With An ATV | Spirit Lights The Way
  9. At the deep end | vicariously in love with you
  10. A Confession From the Back Seat of a Van | sayanything
  11. Sweet home, The Forest | brorsadu
  12. Unsafe | Bullet holes in the wall
  13. The Mess of Messina | ok.megan.
  14. Daily Prompt: Safety First | Awl and Scribe
  15. Safety? What’s that? | alienorajt
  16. Lion’s Den | JC Bride ~
  17. The Shatter | thinkerscap
  18. Face your fear – feel safe | crookedeyebrows
  19. Safe arms | Historiefortelling
  20. Daily Prompt; Unsafe and scared witless | sixty, single and surviving
  21. Should I stay or should I go? | Rob’s Surf Report
  22. Scarred | vic briggs
  23. Mother Nature’s no lady | LynnSlyWrites
  24. Lived To Tell About It | Just Visiting This Planet
  25. Without Without – Daily Prompt: Safety First « Thoughts of a wandering drunk
  26. Edgar Allen Poe Made Me Do It! | Mountains or Molehills
  27. Seeking Refuge In An Angry Place | Kansa Muse
  28. Daily Prompt: Safety First | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  29. DIY And Safety | Flowers and Breezes
  30. DAILY PROMPT: NO SAFE PLACE? | SERENDIPITY
  31. Torn | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  32. Daily Prompt: Safety First | life n me!
  33. Bake your Fears, feel Safe! | A Crazy Chef
  34. Just Yesterday | djgarcia94
  35. Safe Haven | Real Life Co.
  36. Silence in the Metro | MC’s Whispers
  37. DAILY PROMT: SAFETY FIRST | thoughts and entanglements
  38. Daily Prompt: Safety First | Basically Beyond Basic
  39. Safety First: A First Date Gone Terribly Wrong | melanielynngriffin
  40. Safety First | The Nameless One
  41. Daily Prompt: Safety First | From Slacker To Scribe
  42. Dinosaur hunting | Kate Murray
  43. They may not have given chase but I ran. Well, walked fast paced anyway… | thoughtsofrkh
  44. The unseen danger | Life is great
  45. Daily Prompt: Safety First | The Blogging Path